Missing woman turns out to be apparent prank - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Missing woman turns out to be apparent prank

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by Bryan Goettel

Alyssa Strittmater spent her Tuesday night at the bars in downtown Iowa City with some friends. When she woke up Wednesday morning she was surprised to find that her friends and police were worried about her safety.

The call came into police just before 2:00 Wednesday morning. A friend of Alyssa Strittmater had received disturbing Facebook messages from Strittmater's cell phone.

"Those messages indicated that she was in distress, that she needed help, '911 help me,' was referenced to being assaulted," said Sgt. Troy Kelsay with the Iowa City Police.

About a half dozen law enforcement agencies in the area began searching for the Kirkwood grad.  As the hours went by, friends and family grew increasingly concerned.

"This morning it was the primary function of the police department," said Kelsay.

Finally at 10:15 Wednesday morning, Strittmater called police.

"She said that she was fine," Kelsay said. "There had never been any problems. She was not in any distress and that she did not know how those messages had come to be posted on facebook."

Kelsay said the apparent prank wasted resources when they could have been out dealing with the many weather-related incidents around the city.

"There's pranks that are funny and there's pranks that go to far," said Kelsay. "This one went too far, but still I would much rather have it been a prank than have something happen to Alyssa."

Kelsay says it's unlikely any charges will be filed. But he says if they find the person who posted the messages, he or she could be civilly responsible for any expenses from the search.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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